IV. Narrative

Narrative wordcloud
The process of granting significance to certain memories over others and generating meaning from those remembered moments is largely informed by stories available to us already simply through our participation in culture. While this alone is not a problem, I can’t help but wonder: what am I really after when assigning literacy narratives? What are these narratives supposed to do for the student and for us as teacher-researchers? And, would resisting the conventional memorative elements of literacy narratives be productive? If so, how? —Christian Smith


[Intro music : My Little One Trick Pony” by Doctor Turtle]

Hello again, and welcome to the fourth and final section of The Archive as Classroom. Narrative seems like an appropriate culmination to this project, as stories are truly the heart of the DALN. Narratives make the archive matter; they bring literacy to life and enable all of the wonderful research contained in this collection. In the classroom, the DALN provides both resources for narrative inquiry and a platform for rhetorical storytelling.

So naturally, the DALN has inspired research along every bend of the narrative turn, engaging conversations about reflection and identity, rhetoric and agency, literacy and multimodality. Drawing on foundational work by Wendy Bishop, Jerome Bruner, Linda Brodkey, and Walter Fisher, among many others, teachers have demonstrated a variety of benefits that result from integrating narratives into writing courses, and the DALN can make this move seamless. Or rather, it turns out, the DALN challenges teachers and students to pull at those seams, to craft new narratives and design storytelling strategies that continually remake the archive itself.

For this section, we asked contributors to explore how the DALN supports their teaching by considering these questions: How do you use the DALN to expose your students to others’ stories and lives? and What approaches help develop students’ critical, ethical responses to personal narratives? The results reflect the diverse approaches and perspectives that make the DALN such an exciting space for storytellers of all kinds.

In this section, you’ll learn how reading texts from the DALN can influence multilingual students’ own narratives and thereby support enhanced reflection skills. These claims are supported by a mixed-method analysis that offers rich opportunities for future researchers. The next chapter also models reflective practice, as a teacher educator explores writer identity with undergraduate learners. Here, we see how the DALN can sponsor socially responsible literacy among preservice teachers and their eventual students, thereby contributing to a more humane society. Finally, and appropriately, we conclude with a chapter that explodes the conventional literacy narrative assignment. The convoluted alternative it shares reminds us of the vast potential of narrative-based pedagogy while expanding our view of the DALN as a learning and teaching space.

Below, you’ll see links and short descriptions of the chapters included in this section. We know that you will find these narratives as fascinating as we have, and we look forward to the new pedagogical stories they inspire.

[Outro music]


Chapter 1 Lilian W. Mina, “The Archive as Intervention for Teaching Reflection”
This chapter examines how literacy narratives from the DALN develop international multilingual writers’ reflective writing skills. Building on Dewey’s (2012) conceptualization of reflection as a habit of mind that requires teacher intervention and Yancey’s (1998) stipulation of reflection as a frame of thinking about writing, the chapter employs a mixed-method study that extends Yancey’s framework from reflection on writing to the territory of reflection on life situations. Data from 35 international multilingual writers in a first-year writing course in a U.S. university are analyzed, and findings show the DALN’s potential for teaching reflection. The discussion presents implications for instruction of international multilingual writers as well as DALN material gathering and management.
Hashtags: #inclusion, #multiliteracies , #reflection, #researchmethods
Chapter 2 R. Joseph Rodríguez, “‘Writing is much more than putting ink on paper’: Preservice Teachers and Socially Responsible Literacies for a Connected and Digital World”
In this chapter, a teacher educator who has worked with preservice English language arts teachers since 2005 promotes the identity and role of the “teacher as writer” through digital and non-digital literacies in an undergraduate teacher preparation course. In the English Language Arts Laboratory, the Digital Archive of Literacy Narratives (DALN) permits the practice of socially responsible literacies and encourages preservice teachers to develop their identities (as adults, teachers, and writers), advance equity (as agents for social justice), and contribute to their school and civic communities (as bicultural professionals). The chapter explores the concept of teachers as writers while suggesting how they can practice socially responsible literacies with adolescent writers. Classroom-tested materials, featured with concepts and in context, include sample writings and prompts, assessments, and projects that English language arts teachers and DALN users can adapt with writing groups for secondary and postsecondary literacy education. Research and practice from the National Writing Project and other scholars help to inform decision-making for instruction and to support students’ understanding of concepts. Overall, the chapter invites preservice teacher-writers to involve their adolescent students across disciplines to develop digital writing skills, cultural knowledge, and socially responsible literacies that can advance writer identities.
Hashtags:  #facultydevelopment, #reflection
Chapter 3 Christian Smith, “Shooting the ‘Gifts’ of the Archives: A Convoluted Pedagogy”
Drawing on Susan Wells’s three gifts of the archive—resistance to closure, loosening of resentment, and reconfiguring the discipline—as a way to frame an undergraduate pedagogy based on archival research, this chapter emphasizes the inventive capacities of the DALN. Assignments in an advanced composition course invited students to compose “convoluted” literacy narratives by remixing sources from DALN. This approach to the DALN encourages students to not only engage their own literate experiences but also work to see those experiences as part of larger cultural movements. The chapter suggests that such work can expand archival research in undergraduate writing courses and challenge conventional understandings of narrative and narrativized knowledge in the context of literacy studies.
Hashtags: #curation, #multiliteracies, #rhetoricalanalysis